FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 26, 2017
CONTACTS: Ryan Henson, Senior Policy Director, (530) 365-1455 or (530) 902-1648 and Chris Morrill, Communications Director, (530) 220-2394
Order could threaten national parks, monuments, and public lands, and oceans across the country
Oakland, CA – Today, the President Trump signed an Executive Order asking for a review of all national monuments designated since 1996 under the authority granted all presidents by the 1906 Antiquities Act. The Executive Order directs Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to review the designation of all monuments above 100,000 acres.
In California, this order would put seven National Monuments under review including Berryessa Snow Mountain, Carrizo Plain, Cascade-Siskiyou, Giant Sequoia, Mojave Trails, San Gabriel Mountains, and Sand to Snow. In response, California’s only statewide wilderness organization, CalWild, is joining with national and local groups to denounce the President’s efforts as an attack on America’s public lands and the first step in de-designating National Monuments administratively.
“Californians fought hard to protect the seven special places under attack from the Trump administration’s unwarranted “review.” These landscapes are now among our state’s most valued treasures. As hard as we fought to protect them, we’re going to fight even harder to preserve them,” said Ryan Henson, CalWild’s Senior Policy Director.
CalWild worked with local groups for years, and sometimes decades, on each of the national monuments under review. National Monuments protect a vast array of natural and cultural treasures such as the world’s largest trees (Giant Sequoia National Monument). The Carrizo Plain National Monument recently made international headlines for its spectacular spring wildflower “super bloom” sending an influx of visitors to nearby towns.
The Executive Order is not only an attack on America’s public lands legacy and our native and cultural heritage, it will hurt surrounding communities and small businesses that have come to rely on access to these places. Outdoor recreation alone drives a $887 billion economy and supports 7.6 million jobs. Numerous studies have shown that communities located near monuments and other protected public lands have stronger economies, and that the outdoor and recreational opportunities they provide increase residents’ quality of life, making areas near monuments more attractive to new residents, entrepreneurs and small businesses, and investment.
There has not been a loud chorus of voices in California calling for any National Monuments to be de-designated. The real motivation for the rollback comes from anti-conservation members of Congress who have been lobbying President Trump to overturn the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah protected last year by President Obama. While de-designating Bears Ears would not affect California directly, it would mark the first time in history that a National Monument has been overturned and would set a precedent for future de-designations.
Since it was signed by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, the Antiquities Act has been used on a bipartisan basis by the majority of U.S. presidents (16- 8 Republicans and 8 Democrats) to protect America’s most iconic natural, cultural, and historic places.
The widespread diversity of historic, cultural, and natural treasures that have been protected by the Antiquities Act is the reason why groups representing sportsmen, cultural heritage organizations, evangelicals, conservation, recreation businesses, historic preservation, and many others all oppose efforts to undermine this vital law.
The public overwhelmingly supports national parks, monuments, and public lands and oceans. A 2014 Hart Research poll showed that 90% of voters supported Presidential proposals to protect some public lands and waters as parks, wildlife refuges and wilderness. In the 2017 Conservation in the West poll, only 13% of western voters supported removing protections for existing monuments while 80% supported keeping them in place.
The California Wilderness Coalition is a 501(c)3 statewide non-profit organization that protects the natural landscapes that make California unique, providing clean air and water, a home to wildlife, and a place for recreation and spiritual renewal. www.calwild.org